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UtoPia: an early history of Pia and its role in Japan’s 'self-made' film culture

Player, M. ORCID: (2023) UtoPia: an early history of Pia and its role in Japan’s 'self-made' film culture. Japan Forum, 35 (3). pp. 314-343. ISSN 1469-932X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09555803.2021.1895283


In 1972, the Japanese entertainment listings magazine Pia was established, providing information on film screenings, theatre and concert events happening in Tokyo each month. It quickly cultivated an engaged readership of teenagers and young adults. Among this readership were participants of a burgeoning nationwide phenomenon of do-it-yourself film production, referred to in Japanese as jishu seisaku eiga (meaning ‘self-made films’), which typically saw young, aspiring filmmakers produce short and feature-length narrative works using 8mm (and sometimes 16mm) film cameras. This article contextualises the emergence of Pia magazine and its role in centralising and providing opportunities to Japan’s growing ‘self-made’ filmmaking community throughout the 1970s, 1980s and beyond. This can be viewed on two fronts: firstly, from within the pages of the magazine itself and its strategies to stimulate reader-to-cinema engagement; and, secondly, through the magazine’s organisation of an annual self-made film screening event in the late 1970s that would come to be known as the Pia Film Festival (PFF). PFF remains an essential national showcase for new Japanese filmmakers to this day, but, more importantly, it would herald its own system of independent film production in the form of the PFF Scholarship. This article concludes with a discussion about the PFF Scholarship, and its importance at a time when early career filmmakers were struggling within the Japanese film industry.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:98890
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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